Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paul in Tel Aviv

I was there and I was one of them.
This was a once in a lifetime experience. It was a historical cultural event in Israel and I was there to experience it.
I was very lucky to be able to go to Paul McCartney’s concert last Thursday with my friend Dani. Thanks Dani and Happy Birthday.
We got there at around 6:30pm or so and were greeted by the security guard with a smile and a “Shana Tovah”. The park was surrounded by thousands of soldiers, police in cars and horses. The security was very impressive. About 90% of the tickets were standing tickets and the rest were for VIP at ridiculous prices (not that the standing ticket prices were less crazy). The places in front of the stage were already packed but hey, how difficult would it be for two people to squeeze in? Well…very difficult. There was literally no room but we were able to get in not that far from the stage. It was a great feeling to be part of this sea of Israeli people and then it hit me, wait a minute I’m one of them now (at least one of the ones that can afford a ticket). Regardless of the different looks, accents, ancestors, religious observance, political views or strength of our B.Os (body odors) we were all mostly Israeli jews, that’s exactly what I wanted to be when I came to Israel and now it hit me in the middle of 40,000 + of us packed in a can of sardines, I’m now part of the Israeli society.

Pol Mekarrtni
After 2 hours of waiting (3 hrs+ for other) with not much room to even raise our arms, after 43 years since the Beatles were banned by the Israeli government, after several attempts to come to Israel and regardless of the terrorist threat he received a week before the concert, there he appeared as we all jumped, sang, danced and screamed. I was actually amazed to hear all the Israelis sing his songs, especially the Beatles ones. He welcomed all the crowd by saying “Shalom Tel Aviv, Shana Tovah” I could not believe what I was experiencing, Paul, my rock icon wishing me a happy new Jewish year in Hebrew, not only that, throughout the concert he used many words in Hebrew such as “Ze mi Paam” (This one is from old times) and sang “All my loving”, he announced his song “Alhan Jude” (Hey Jude) “Atem sharim iti” (you sing with me), and as we all sang he ask for the “Gvarim” (Men) to sing, then “Nashim” (Women) and finally “Kulam” (everyone). This song reminds me a lot of the first time I heard Paul in my life, thanks Jacobo for convincing me to attend that concert back in 1989. The concert brought back a lot of great memories especially as he sang George Harrison’s “Something” – our wedding song. He went on for about 2 and a half hours, by then most of us were exhausted but wanting to hear more. As he left the stage a couple of times the crowd screamed “POL MEKARRTNI….. POL MEKARRTNI” (I’m not sure how to write the thick Israeli accent). He sang many old Beatles songs as well as some of his Wings days as well as his solo career songs. During his performance of “Live and let die” as I already anticipated they included fireworks with big explosions, I knew they were coming but must admit I did hesitate for a second, especially given the vulnerability of so many people and the threats Paul received. Several times Paul referred to Peace in the world including the song “Give peace a chance”. It was by far the greatest concert experience I ever had given the performer, the place and the time.

Lehitraot Tel Aviv!
“And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make” his final song lyrics as he said “Lehitraot” (Good bye/See you later). Will he visit Israel again?
There was no single newspaper on Friday without Paul’s picture on the first page. This was indeed an important cultural event.
After the concert Dani took me to this great Shwarma place, it showed me not to judge the book by its cover, this was the best Shwarma I ever had and it was at a not so clean place right next to the gas station. It could have been the midnight heavy dinner or just the place but today I was under what I will like to call Goliath’s Revenge (similar to Moctezuma’s revenge in Mexico), but not to worry it will definitely not be the last Shwarma I eat.

When the rain comes
This concert was really meant to be. On Friday (the day after the concert) the center of the country received heavy rains. The first rain of the year. Did Paul leave some English rain with him? I never thought of rain being that big of a deal but I guess you don’t appreciate something until you lack of it. As many of you know Israel has water problems every year and depends on G’d’s will every year. Every rain is a blessing and it was received as such. We were all very excited to see rain fall, Batya at her Gan got out with all the kids to run and celebrate in the rain. Lets hope for a good rain season.

Enjoy some photos from the concert.


AdinaB said...

It looks like you had such an incredible time at the concert! Your description is a vivid as someone describing a life-changing religious experience, but then again, he was a BEATLE!
I wish I could have seen it.

Shanah Tovah!

Anonymous said...

Que increible experiencia Isra, lo que no te envidio son los olores a sope que seguramente te acompañaron.
Pero el mejor show para nosotros fue ver los bloopers de los niños actunado "SHANA TOVA TUTURUU"es inceible lo afinada y entonada que es Batya y las carcajadas de los dos nos hicieron el dia mucho mas alegre.
Gracias por compartir con nostros estos momentos.
Les deseamos a gut und gezunt yor, shana tova umetuka y una añada buena y clara , como se dice en ladino.
con cariño
Ramy, yudis, rajel y toda la mishpoje

Dan said...


Since I know how much Paul and the Beatles mean to you, I can only imagine your joy at this concert!! What a wonderful way to feel yourself like "one of the (Israeli) gang." Shana Tova! I'm very happy for you :)


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